One of my saving graces about being a full-time working mom with two kids is that I'm not the only breastfeeding mama in my office. My co-worker gave birth about five months before I did. Our pregnancies overlapped as did our maternity leave time. And now, I have someone nearby who just gets it, someone who is mirroring the life of raising two young children, working and breastfeeding.
While the majority of my colleagues are parents and know the tribulations and triumphs of breastfeeding, it's not the same as being able to talk to someone who is actively nursing. What makes the situation even more wonderful is that this is not a competition. Neither of us are striving to become Class President of the Nursing Babies Class, which could happen in offices. I have worked in environments that felt more like it was high school with the cliques and the cattiness -- not a place I'd feel safe and comfortable to express how I need to, well, express. Now I have someone with whom I can vent and whine and share without any recourse or chance that she'll share my breast shield size with others who don't need to hear that information.
We were both on maternity leave at the same time, though since she gave birth earlier, she came back to work while I was still away. So when I returned to the office and was struggling to find a new normal, she melted my heart when we started talking about pumping and she offered me the use of the hospital grade pump she's renting. All I would have to do is bring my own kit and it was available. How sweet is that? I have people in my life that won't even let me borrow their DVDs! Others write their names on the bottoms of casserole dishes because they think I'm not going to return their precious dishware, which may have happened twice (sorry, Mom!).
My co-worker was granting me access to a very expensive piece of equipment with no strings attached. I did decline her offer, because I wasn't sure of our schedules and it might become tricky later on. But to hear her warmly offer up her pump so easily still strikes me as one of the nicest things anyone has ever said.
I have always been handy at finding resources. Whether it's locating florists and caterers for events or researching which daycare is best suited for my kids, I can most likely sleuth for what I need. Now I discovered what I need at work and I hadn't been expecting it at all —- another breastfeeding mama. There's someone else with whom I can rally because the office fridge isn't working and there's no place to store breastmilk. Someone who also can't handle four-hour meetings because it butts into the pumping schedule. And someone who makes being away from my baby a bit easier because I am not alone.